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Blue Steel, Ekono Juan net Classic's top times | Sailing
By David Aas/Special to the Journal
Hosted by San Juan Island Yacht Club on Saturday, Aug. 11, the 42nd Shaw Island Classic was “A Race to Remember”.
The weather was near perfect at the start, with temperatures in the low 70s and a good breeze out of the north. Fifty-five boats were on the line, which, unlike previous years, saw good wind and two clean starts.
Slower divisions were over the line at noon, followed by the faster divisions at 12:15 p.m.
The Shaw Island Classic is unique in that boats can choose to circumnavigate Shaw Island in either direction. Both starts went off without a hitch, the fleet then split in search of the right combination of wind and current, with boats making good headway in both directions.
It is estimated that 40 percent chose the clockwise direction (north) and the rest went counterclockwise. The counterclockwise boats made good progress until they reached Upright Channel, at which time winds got light and stalled the turn at Hankin Point.
The clockwise boats made good progress until they reached always troublesome Wasp Passage, where some difficulty was encountered but our sailors persevered.
The clockwise boats appeared to make the better choice, as Blue Steel, captained by Nigel Oswald, was the first boat to cross the finish line at 1532 (3:32 p.m.) and about 10 clockwise boats finished before the first counterclockwise boat was sighted by the race committee.
Unlike many previous classics, we had 26 boats cross the finish line (almost half of the starters) and several others that just missed the 1800 (6 p.m.) finish, with boaters in both directions finishing.
First, 2nd and 3rd prizes were awarded in all divisions, except centerboard, where the first place prize was awarded to a single entrant. All results were based on finish times with the exception of Cruising Class B and C, where awards were based on mid-course times, as detailed in the Notice of Race.
Ekono Juan, a San Juan 24 and perennial favorite, skippered by Ryan Forbes, was awarded first place overall on a corrected time of 4.05 hours. Blue Steel, a F32R multihull skippered by Nigel Oswald, captured fasted elapsed time in 3.29 hours.
Following the race, a hearty lasagna dinner prepared by the SJIYC’s 1st Mates was enjoyed at the San Juan Island Yacht Club, followed by the award ceremony.
— Editor's note: David Aas is fleet captain of San Juan Island Yacht Club.